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Most Americans Say Well-Rounded Education Includes Arts

According to a new poll from Americans for the Arts, nearly 90 percent of Americans agree that arts should be part of a well-rounded education in public schools.

But 27 percent of Americans, mostly in rural and suburban areas, say students in their areas do not currently have enough access to the arts. And nearly half of the public believes there should be more public funding for arts education. 

Americans for the Arts polled 3,020 people a week after the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in December. ESSA was a victory for arts education advocates, who successfully pushed to have arts included in the new federal education law's definition of a well-rounded education. That means that creative arts programs are eligible for a variety of federal funds and programs.

Americans for the Arts commissioned the survey from polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs

The survey finds that by some measures, Americans are even more committed to arts education than before. Traditionally, there has been widespread support for arts education for elementary and middle school students but less agreement that it's a critical part of the high school curriculum. In this survey, however, nearly 90 percent of respondents agreed that arts education is important for high schoolers as well as for younger students.  

More than 60 percent of parents said they had taken steps to support arts education within the past year. Parents said that a main barrier to supporting or accessing arts education is time and competing priorities.

The poll also covered support for government funding for the arts. More than 50 percent of those surveyed supported government grants for artists and arts programs, and 17 percent said they would pay more taxes to see more arts programming. 

The survey was released earlier this week, to coincide with Arts Advocacy Day

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